Opening a bank account in the Netherlands - BV
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Opening a bank account in the Netherlands


Business bank accounts in the Netherlands

Dutch first line banks: ING, ABN-AMRO and Rabobank

The Netherlands is a highly developed European jurisdiction that attracts the attention of foreign investors from all over the world due to its progressive economy, low inflation, reasonable taxation and developed financial system.

ING Bank, ABN-AMRO and Rabobank are the most prestigious, largest and most popular banks in Holland. These banks are widely represented in Europe and the world, have an excellent reputation, are reliable and stable financial institutions, and cooperation with them provides many advantages. These Dutch banks work with almost any profile of the company, including financial trading. Popular banking products include loans, mortgages, and loans. Among banking products, you can find current offers for both entrepreneurs and individuals.

At the same time, every year opening a bank account for companies with a non-resident (non-Dutch) element in such a first-line bank becomes more and more difficult.

Even if your initial situation is not suitable for opening a Dutch first line bank account, you can take steps to improve the quality of your application or reorient to other service options in the banking sector.

Second line NL banks: Knab and Bunq

Often the criteria for choosing a bank are such characteristics as “large, prestigious, recognizable”. However, this request does not always correspond to real needs, and not every business is able to pass the compliance (check) of such a bank. As a result, opening an account with a large Dutch bank may be difficult or impossible.

At the same time, smaller Dutch banks, which do not have the same wide recognition as, for example, ING, are nevertheless full-fledged and licensed market participants under the same laws and are quite capable of solving the tasks for which an account is opened. In particular, banks such as Knab and Bunq are a versatile and technologically advanced solution for conducting settlement activities of both enterprises and individuals. Following the rapidly developing digital innovations, these banks have completely switched to online operation. The processes of opening and using a bank account do not require the client's physical presence at bank branches.

Unlike classical banks, these organizations provide a less wide range of banking products. Instead, the main focus is on the ease of use of banking applications, functionality and automation. It is important to note that not all activities of companies fit the profile of listed banks. For example, such banks do not cooperate with businesses in the field of financial trading, prefer simple corporate structures, and sometimes even prefer to work with individual entrepreneurs.

Prerequisites and obstacles to opening a bank account in the Netherlands

Due to pressure from the European Central Bank (ECB) and international European organizations, the general European trend towards deoffshorization of legislation and strengthening of control over money laundering (AML), banking institutions in the Netherlands have recently significantly complicated customer compliance procedures: Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Know Your Customer (KYC). As a result of these changes, opening a bank account in Holland has become much more difficult for small businesses, newly created companies without an obvious background, and structures with a non-resident element.

A priori, to open a bank account in the Netherlands, as in other banks of the EU countries, a so-called "substance" is required, which implies the connection of a legal entity with the country in the form of localized governing bodies, a local real (non-mass, non-virtual) legal address, the implementation of the company's activities on the territory of the country, for non-Dutch legal entities in some cases - the presence of a local tax number.

Dutch banks are strict in the document verification procedure. One of the decisive criteria when considering an application for opening an account is the presence of a Dutch residence both for the head of the company and (at least) for some of the owners. An important point is also the nature of the ownership structure of the company and the presence in it of offshore and quasi-offshore legal entities in the composition of shareholders / founders.

If your company does not meet the criteria

If the substance is insufficient or the company’s obvious non-resident nature, which is expressed, first of all, in the absence of Dutch residents among the owners and management bodies, you will be able to take a set of measures to eliminate obstacles to opening an account. And to provide criteria for the localization of the company's activities. If this is not practical, you can choose alternative options for opening a bank account for Dutch companies outside of the Netherlands.

Banks of other jurisdictions of the Eurozone

Drawing on our experience with a number of Eurozone banks and an understanding of their positioning and compliance process, we offer a range of practical solutions for opening corporate accounts in Europe outside the Netherlands. Opening an account with a European bank outside the country of registration (the Netherlands) is a normal and common practice. For legal entities carrying out international activities, an account in a foreign bank completely simplifies doing business and expands the boundaries of interaction. A list of countries and specific banks is available upon request and includes jurisdictions such as Germany, Portugal, Switzerland and other countries with a highly developed banking sector.

The process of opening an account begins with a preliminary agreement on the possibility of cooperation with specific banks in selected jurisdictions.

Fintech (fintech) as an alternative to a bank

Having received recognition relatively recently (in comparison with banks), fintech services are rapidly gaining the trust of private and corporate clients and confidently occupying their market share. While the focus of classical banks is aimed at developing digital sub-brands, interfaces and shells for their services, electronic financial operators are already actively using the infrastructure of classical banking and positioning themselves as a full-fledged alternative to the banking sector.

Like classic banks, payment systems provide the ability to make bank transfers. They usually provide clients with full-fledged IBAN accounts and operate under an EMI license. These payment services comply with legislative requirements regarding the security and safety of funds, and are audited annually. Leading fintech operators keep clients' funds in accounts with European banks regulated by the ECB. Account funds are covered by compulsory insurance. The client has at his disposal payment details with an individual IBAN number and BIC / SWIFT codes of the partner's bank, which is not inferior to the details of accounts in classic banks. The systems are easy to use, support multicurrency exchange and do not require physical presence to open an account. In addition, they are significantly cheaper in terms of commissions.

We recommend that companies, in any case, have this settlement tool in their arsenal. We will be happy to help you choose the most comfortable, profitable and reliable online payment tool based on your needs.

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